Friday, July 26, 2013

Heartburn. Caused by Too Much or Too Little Acid?

For most of my life, I have been plagued with heartburn. I get it from my father. When I was a little kid, I picked up one of the many rolls of Rolaids that my dad had everywhere and ate one, thinking it was candy. Blech! It was highly disgusting. Growing up, I could usually control the heartburn with the occasional antacid. That is until I got pregnant. Wow! The heartburn was uncontrollable. I would have it so often that, instead of sending my husband to the store for pickles and ice cream, I was making him buy me large quantities of fruity Tums. Finally, my OB had to relent and allow me to take some Zantac.

I thought it would go back to how it was before once I gave birth but no such luck. I saw a couple of doctors and they ran a test that involved drinking something fizzy and something chalky then having me roll around on an x-ray bed while they took pictures of my innards. The doc looked at me and said it was the worst case of acid reflux he had ever seen. Thus began a very long journey into the world of acid blockers.

Up until about a year ago, I did not realize that there was anything I could do about it. So, after many hours of research, I began to change they way I ate and lost a few pounds. However, there was no change in the reflux.  In fact, it became worse. I tried all kinds of dietary supplements that others had success with but, as soon as I stopped taking the acid blockers, the heartburn came back with a vengeance!

So I gave up on ever getting off the pharmaceuticals.

Until now.

I read a blog post sponsored by The Village Green Network. (I have looked everywhere to find it to link to it but I can't:()

In that post, there was research cited that showed that up to 95% of all heartburn cases were caused by too little stomach acid instead of too much. WHAT???? How can that be???

Apparently, when you have too little stomach acid, the food you eat just sits in your stomach and starts to putrefy and ferment, causing the acid to to go back up the esophagus and causing...wait for it....heartburn!

As if that wasn't bad enough, because there isn't enough stomach acid to break down the food properly, it eventually moves into the small intestine in a form that it isn't supposed to be in, which in turn, can cause leaky gut. Yuck!

I honestly never thought that my problems could be caused by too little stomach acid.

The writer gave some tips to help with the digestion of your food.

First of all, she pointed out that your stomach does not have teeth so it relies on you to thoroughly chew your food before swallowing. Actually chewing until the food is the consistency of applesauce. I admit that I am so guilty of not chewing very well. I eat way too fast sometimes so I have to really focus on chewing thoroughly and s l o w l y.

Another tip was to not drink liquids with meals and for an hour after eating. The thought is that drinking water dilutes your stomach acid making it more difficult to break down your food. I am a big drinker of water. All day long I have a glass of water at my side. I never thought that I could be actually making my problem worse. If you need to have something to drink with meals, it was suggested to keep it to 4 oz. or less or to make it a fermented drink like Kombucha which adds lots of nice gut bacteria to keep things moving right along.

So my experiment will be to try these steps to eliminate my need for the medication. For the last few days, I have not taken any medication and I have been very mindful of my chewing and liquid consumption. I am not gonna lie, I have had some heartburn but not enough to warrant taking anything. I have a feeling that it may take some time for my stomach to start producing enough acid to breakdown my food because of the years of taking acid inhibitors.

I will keep you posted of my progress.

It is funny (sad) to think that the thing I have been doing to stop the heartburn may have been the one thing that kept it going.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cilantro...The New Love of My Life

Last week I got my copy of From Scratch by Shaye Elliott of The Elliott Homestead. I bought it on sale from Amazon for just under $16 and, let me tell you, it is worth every penny of it! And I have only made one thing from it!!
Shaye's type of cooking is plain and simple, all from scratch, good for you food. There are no exotic ingredients, nothing weird. You can pronounce everything and find it all locally, probably in your own pantry. It does, however, require just a teensy bit more time than most people are probably used to, at least in the beginning.

This type of food is most beneficial to our bodies when as much of each component is made from scratch as possible. For example, chicken stock. Yes, you can buy it at the store pretty cheaply but then that is exactly what you get cheap, unappetizing food. Store bought stock isn't going to nourish your body the way your own homemade stock will. Why? Because food manufacturers have(?) to put in all kinds of preservatives, additives, colorings etc. in order to make a product that can sit on the shelves for years without ever decomposing. If it can last that long in a package, imagine what it will be doing in your intestines! So you want to make as many of the ingredients yourself as you possibly can.

The recipe I made for lunch today was Chicken Soup with Coconut and Cilantro. Oh my word, it was sooooo good. I never knew I liked cilantro until today. The smell is just so fresh and the taste...Oh!

This recipe actually started yesterday with some chicken stock making. This is an extremely easy thing to do but it does take a little bit of time. First, you want to get you a good chicken. I didn't use my own because my hens are more valuable to me for their eggs than for their meat. Plus I haven't ordered my "meat" chickens yet:) So I used a pastured chicken from the store. Yes it is more expensive but I won't compromise on meat for my family. So I cut the chicken up. This is a bit more tricky than I thought it would be. Hubby is going to have to sharpen my knife after I sawed through the bones! There are supposed to be joints you cut through but I never found 'em. So you cut up the whole chicken and put it in the crock pot (put in the neck and gizzards too) along with a couple of cut up carrots, celery and onion. Add 8-12 cups of water, depending on the size of your crock pot. You want it to be about 1 1/2 inches from the rim. Add in 1/4-1/2 c. apple cider vinegar and then put the lid on it. Cook on high until it starts to boil then turn it down to low. Let it cook for 12-24 hours. Once your house is smelling so good that you can't stand it, turn off the crock pot and get to separating the good stuff in there. Put all the meat in one bowl and all the cooked down veggies, bones and skin in another. Feel free to give the veggie/bone bowl to your pets. The bones have softened from the long cook and they are no longer dangerous. I gave mine to our pig and I have never seen her focused on eating in all the time we have had her!

Next, you need to strain the liquid to get out any other bits and pieces. You will need a fine mesh strainer or use come cheesecloth in a colander to strain it all out. Put the broth into a couple of containers and put in the fridge. You want the fat to thicken up on top of the broth so that it can be skimmed off. Once it is skimmed off, you can portion your broth and freeze it or put it into canning jars and can it. Here is a great tutorial for canning broth.

Once, the meat is cool enough to handle, remove it from the rest of the bones and skin. Shred the meat and portion it out however you need to. I just put a bit in the fridge to make the soup I mentioned above and then put a couple of cups into some freezer bags for future meals. Helpful hint, freeze the bags flat so that you can stack them once frozen to save space in the freezer.

Okay, now that you have some liquid chicken "gold" put up and some shredded chicken set aside, it is time to make this nummy soup!

Into a stockpot, put 3 1/2 cups chicken stock, 1 can full fat organic coconut milk, about a teaspoon fresh grated ginger (buy a root, keep in the freezer, grate as needed. Trust me on this!), 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. liquid aminos (like soy sauce but better for you), 1/2 - 1 tbsp. sweetener (such as raw honey or sucanat. NOT SPLENDA!!!)1 cup shredded cooked chicken and 1 cup egg noodles. Bring all of it to a boil then turn down the heat and let it simmer until the noodles are cooked al dente. You will need to salt the soup so check it now and add what you need. Serve with chopped cilantro (do NOT leave that out!) and some chopped green onions. This recipe made enough for 3 big bowls of soup and you can double it if needed.
(I tweaked this recipe a little so it isn't exactly what is in the cookbook)

Try it. Soon. By the cookbook. Now. That's all.

Friday, July 5, 2013

They Put WHAT On TV????

We don't do a whole lotta tv watching around here but, for the last few weeks, we have had massive amounts of rain that have made outdoor activities impossible if not down right dangerous!

So we have been watching a few shows on tv. Now let me just throw this out there, I am impatient. I despise commercials so having a dvr is bliss for me! I record a show to watch later and then I get to fast forward through all the commercials.

How many of you have noticed the commercials, either for products or for other tv shows that seem to lack a bit of class? You know the ones. The erectile dysfunction ones, for example. Now I am sure ED is a problem for some men and probably not one that they want to talk about in public, so why is it necessary to show commercials for it? The channel that shows one at almost every commercial break is the History Channel!!! Really? They always have to put in the line about "If you have an erection lasting more than 4 hours, please seek medical help." You would think the History Channel would be safe for young viewers but not with this stuff. Don't be surprised when your young son comes and asks you how long an erection is supposed to last. If he's watching the History Channel, you will know why he is asking!

Now, I am not a prude so don't bother with the nasty comments. I just think that this is something that doesn't need to be on tv. Yes, I know. We could just turn the tv off but why does this stuff need to be on in the first place?

Other commercials that are a bit disturbing are the ones for the shows that they put out there for public consumption. Take Pregnant and Dating. Really? Do we need to see that? Seems that one should "date" before one becomes pregnant. Or even better, how about you MARRY before you get pregnant! I know, shocking idea isn't it.

Then there are the Teen Mom type shows. Do we really need to be glamorizing teen's sleeping around and getting pregnant? Their life isn't reality for the teen girls that actually do become pregnant because they made poor choices. No one is going to give the average pregnant 16 year old her own show but there are teens out there getting pregnant so they can be "famous". Don't believe me? Spend time in a high school.

They don't need a tv show. They need someone to parent them, mentor them, help them learn to make good choices. Not line their bank accounts with cash and reward them screwing up.

Just last night, we were watching something and this commercial comes on about Bridezilla's: Marriage Boot Camp. Here's a confession for you. I used to watch Bridezilla's years ago. It was funny to see how these women reacted to the stress of planning a wedding. Then it just got to be a cuss fest with these women behaving so badly I was embarrassed for them. So I stopped watching. Then I see the commercial for the new show coming on and it starts off with the couples being told that their homework is to go home and have sex. Then it cuts to a screen shot of a women telling the other women that their husbands need to wear this thing while they have sex so he becomes a human vibrator! These commercials are not just coming on at night. This was during a show that was recorded in the early afternoon!

Why do we have to accept the lie that "sex sells". Maybe because it isn't really a lie. If you compare shows from the 70's through to present time, women are wearing less and less clothing, the couples sexing it up all over the place aren't dating, much less married, the teens are behaving very badly and the parents are even worse. It seems if a show is to capture an audience, it has to abolish the limits of decency and cater to the prurient minded. Or at least that is what the producers think.

How do those producers explain the popularity of shows like Duck Dynasty? They regularly speak of their faith, no one is cheating on their spouse, no one is showing any boob or butt. Yet, it is one of A&E networks top rated shows.

I know that there are people out there that like watching this stuff but I have to ask "why"? What is it about the lifestyle these shows depict that you find entertaining? I am not judging you, I am just curious.

Last year, hubby and I made a conscious decision to not watch shows that our kids can't watch. Why? Well, it just didn't feel right making them leave the room while we watched a tv show that wasn't appropriate for them. If something is inappropriate for a 13 year old, why should it be appropriate for an adult. We cannot hold them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves to. Kids will do what we do much more than what we tell them to do! 

I say us parents need to hold ourselves to a much higher standard than we are currently requiring of ourselves. We tell our kids not to do something, take cussing for instance, yet we let those same words fly when we are mad, irritated, excited or just at a loss for a better word. Sorry but you can't get mad at your kids for picking it up from you. If we are acting inappropriately in a situation, why would be expect a child to act differently?

I don't know about you but my kids make me want to be a much better version of myself each and every day. Am I successful? Ummm, no. Not all of the time. Probably not even most of the time but I am trying. Every day. For now, I think we will just turn off the tv.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth Of July

Happy Fourth Of July to everyone!!! We have fought hard for our freedoms over the last few centuries so let us all take a moment to remember our military personnel and their families that made today possible.

Hope you all will be safe and with those that you love.

We will be here in central Georgia trying not to DROWN!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Eating Healthy Is Just Too Hard & Expensive

When we started to change our eating habits, I was sure that my grocery budget was going to go through the roof! I mean, buying fresh organic foods, grass fed beef and cooking from scratch wasn't going to just take all my time but it was going to cost a fortune! At least that was what I thought.

Boy, was I wrong!

Now, before you think that I didn't have to get a little creative with my food budget in the beginning, let me set the record straight right now, I had to get REAL creative. But not for the reason you might think. It wasn't because organic costs so much more, it was because I was going to be doing a lot of cooking! About that same time, we decided that we didn't really enjoy going out to eat very much because the food just wasn't very good so we were going to be eating many more meals at home. I was going to be cooking 3 meals a day just about every day. I mistakenly thought that I had to cook 3 separate meals each and every day from then on out. Thankfully, I learned to combine cooking for several meals to save me some time and money. I'll talk about that some other time.

Let's dispel myth #1-Organic costs too much.
Truth- Organic does cost a bit more than some things but not everything has to be organic. There are lists floating around in cyberspace showing the Dirty Dozen-fruits and veggies that should always be bought organic, and the Clean 15-fruits and veggies that have very little pesticide residue. So you could save money by only buying the dirty dozen organically. One thing that works well, if you live in an area that has one, is to visit your local Farmer's Market. Sometimes, local trumps organic. Ask the farmers how they grow their product. Many times food is grown organically but just not certified. You could also grow your own. Gardening can be your best friend! It is a great workout and you get rewarded for all your hard work with wonderful, fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables.

Myth #2-Processed food is cheaper
Truth-You are right on this one. Processed food is cheaper. But not in the long run. You will spend all those savings (and much more) in higher healthcare costs. Not to mention all the fun you will be missing out on by not being as healthy as you want to be.

Myth #3- I don't have time to cook from scratch.
Truth-Really? What exactly is taking all your time? Before you leave me nasty comments, hear me out. Cooking from scratch does NOT have to take hours and hours every night. It is going to require a bit more time and a bit more organization but not the hours you may be worried about. There are several "tricks" you can incorporate into your routine that will save you oodles of time. Most importantly? Plan your meals. You cannot get food on the table if you A:) don't know what your having and B:) you don't have a properly stocked pantry.
Also, make 2 or 3 meals at once. Making Spaghetti with meat sauce? Brown a few pounds of meat for tacos or casseroles for later in the week at the same time. Making beans? Cook extra for meals that week or for the freezer.

The freezer is so important in from scratch cooking. Pick a day when you have a few free hours and make several meals for the freezer. There are sooooo many blogs and websites that specialize in freezer meals. Google it and get cooking. It doesn't take long to put up a weeks worth of meals in the freezer. In a few hours your freezer will be stocked with homemade meals that will nourish the bodies of your family. No drive thru can do that!

It doesn't take much longer to make homemade foods than it does to open and cook a box of nuclear orange macaroni and cheese but the benefits of that homemade meal definitely outweigh any draw on your free time.

Something I wasn't expecting is that my grocery bill actually has gone down since we changed our eating habits. Because I am no longer buying premade, prepackaged food, I use that money to buy staples such as flour (for breadmaking), sucanat/raw honey, etc. I can make many more meals from staple foods than I can from boxes, thus saving me money. Wherever I save, I can put that savings towards organic foods that cost a bit more.

With just a little time and effort, you can feed your family "good fuel" and give them the best chance at a healthy ever after. Isn't that kind of what us parents are supposed to be doing anyway????

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Stuff We Teach Our Kids About Food

Growing up in the 80's, I was a product of the "convenience" generation. Drive thru's, frozen meals, diners on every corner. I never had to wait for food because it was always available.

If you had asked me then if I thought I was eating real food, I would have said "Of course it's real. Can't you see it?!".

Ahhh, the days of being blissfully unaware of what I was eating...

They say once you see something, you can't un-see it.  The same is true for what you learn about food. I have seen the conditions cows, hogs and chickens live in on "factory farms". I cannot bring myself to buy that meat at the store. Every time I stand in the meat section, I just want to cry...and vomit. That isn't food the way God intended.

For the past two weeks, my husband's teenaged cousins have been visiting along with his Aunt (their grandma). Because the girls spent almost all their time at our house, eating our food, Aunt Rose brought over a bunch of food. Lots of cheese. I love cheese. She also brought over a gallon of milk that the girls hadn't finished. Since we can't get raw milk here, I buy only organic whole milk. The stuff she brought over was 2% milk that you find in any grocery store. My kids wouldn't even touch it. Now, my kids will eat pretty much anything but they are starting to realize that food is fuel. Bad fuel is bad for the body. I have been doing a lot of reading on milk lately because I really want to get a dairy cow. Did you know that decades ago, skim milk was considered waste material by dairy farmers? It was pretty much used as hog feed because it was better than just throwing it out and it put a lot of fat on them. Now it is marketed as a way to lose weight???? Yeah, tell me how that works.

The oldest cousin has a lot of food misconceptions that I find are very common with teens her age. First of all, they think butter is bad. She is always amazed when she comes to visit that we use butter. We use it a lot. And we are healthy. She has been following Weight Watchers with her dad because he has some serious health problems. According the them (WW), butter is bad and we should all be eating margarine. Not happening in this house! She has also been trained to think that bacon is the worst food ever. Now, we don't go around eating bacon every day (I am pretty sure I could eat it every day though!) but if we want some, we pull out a package of uncured nitrate/nitrite free bacon and we have some. If I was better organized, I would be saving the fat from the bacon to use in other cooking but I never think about it. There is nothing unhealthy about fat from healthy animals.

If we are going to demonize food, let's demonize the right food! Let's call out the gmo, processed, fake foods that we have been feeding our families for far too long. Let them take their rightful place among the list of "foods" that we aren't going to consume anymore. Let's stop driving our kids through the drive thru or picking up pizza most nights of the week because we are "too busy" to cook a nourishing meal. Let's fill our families' bodies with good, wholesome, REAL foods like grass fed beef, pastured pork/poultry, organic fruits and vegetables, butter and whole milk (raw if you can find it).

Think you can't afford whole foods? Next post I am going to tell you why you are thinking incorrectly.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cutting Off Laziness at the Knees

I hear the following phrase all.the.time. "I don't have time to (fill in the blank)". I hear it a lot coming out of my own mouth, too.

Funny, everyone gets the exact same 24 hours in a day but some accomplish so much and some accomplish nothing. I am embarrassed to say that I have fallen into that second category on more than one (million) occasion.

When I first became a mom, I believed the hype that I could have it all. I had a job I loved and was extremely good at, I had just gotten married and became a mom to 3 great kids and we built our first home. Yeah, I was living the dream. So we ate out a lot. I mean how could I spend all day at work (usually at least 10 hours) and come home and cook something. It was just easier to go out. As time went on, we all gained weight and any time off from work was spent in front of the tv. At least we were all together, right?

Over the years, we added twins to the family and moved to Georgia. Prime farm country. Our kids were gonna spend all day outside taking care of the farm and being farm kids. Or maybe not. I was still working and we were still eating out a lot. Hubby and I had packed on more pounds than we cared to say. Still, nothing changed.

I am not sure what the catalyst for major change was but I started to think that I was letting my family down by not doing my job. Not the one I got paid for but the one that should have been more important, the one that should have taken priority. Hubby and I started looking at where we were and where we wanted to be and they were no where close to each other. We knew something had to change. God slammed put it on my heart to quit my job and stay home. I argued with Him. How in the world could I afford to stay home? We had bills... lots of them. I liked my job. What would I do with myself if I was home all day? Arguing with God is truly pointless (yet we still do it). I "retired" from my job and became a full time stay at home mom. Things were tight. Very tight. But we managed. The twins were still in private school at the time so my days were spent doing things that I shouldn't have been doing, like watching soap operas and channel surfing. I wasn't really accomplishing much even though I now had "time". Then God shoved pushed me to home school our kids. I know for a fact that idea came from Him because I hated it. At first. Then I thought and prayed about it and we did it.

Now my days were full again but I felt something was missing. It was about this time when I started to fell like I should be doing something more for my family. I took good care of them but there is ALWAYS room for improvement. I felt like God was telling me something and I just wasn't listening. I still can't remember if it was a single incident or a series of them that got me to look at our eating habits. I was disgusted by what I saw. I started to do some research on the subject of nutrition. If you want a study in contradictions, then study nutrition. One "expert" will say to eat this for health. Then another "expert" will say the opposite. This happened over and over and over. I was becoming frustrated that I couldn't find the information that I needed. However, certain things were made very clear to me. One was quit looking to the doctors for health. Now, before I get raked over the coals for that, let me state that I have the utmost respect for doctors, nurses and so forth. They have saved countless lives, including those of my twins. BUT medical schools teach our doctors to treat symptoms. Treating symptoms does not cure the problem. So I fault the medical schools for this. That being said, if you go to the doctor with a complaint, chances are you will walk away with a prescription for something but no real knowledge of the cause of your problem.

So if I am going to ignore the experts, what do I do now? Then it hit me. I have always said that the Bible was God's instruction manual for us. Maybe that is where I will find my answers. "Seek and ye shall find"! There is not one mention of artificial sweeteners, pasturized homogenized milk or high fructose corn syrup in the Bible. Hmmm, maybe if God didn't mention it, I shouldn't eat it? Yes, that is a simplistic view but think about it. God designed our bodies to work in a certain way with what he provided. What happens when you put diesel in a gas motor? Lots of problems! (and no I haven't done that!)I think the same thing happens when you put something unnatural in your body.

So all of this being said, it still took a bit of effort to pull me out of my processed food comfort zone. I can cook. I am a pretty good cook if I do say so myself. But I had gotten so lazy with meals from a box that I almost forgot HOW to cook a real meal from scratch. Cooking from scratch is going to look different to everyone. For me, there are no more "boxes" in my pantry. They have been replaced with spices, flour, home canned (and some store bought cans) of goods like tomatoes and tuna, a freezer full of pastured chicken, grass fed beef, venison from hubby's hunting and some wild hogs.
There are no boxes of Kraft anything in my pantry. No hamburger helper. If I want mac and cheese, I make it myself with noodles, cheese, milk and so on. It took a little surfing the web to find out how to make some of our favorites from scratch but now that I do, I no longer have to buy it at the store. And I no longer have to wonder what is in them!
Some of my homemade from now on things are:
BBQ sauce
Salad dressings
Bread-sandwich, french, hot dog & hamburger buns, crescent and dinner rolls and the best buttermilk biscuits.
Laundry Detergent, fabric softener and non toxic bleach
All cleaning products-seriously they are so easy to make and so much better for your house!

Those are a few of my everyday kind of things that I make myself. Your list may look very different.
I still have so many things that I want to add to that list like homemade shampoo/conditioner, shaving cream, soap and toothpaste but all of this needs to be done in baby steps. If you jump in and try to do everything all at once, you will quickly burn out and miss the benefits of being more self reliant. Pick one thing and stick with it. Perfect it as much as possible and give it time to become part of your normal routine. Once it is second nature, pick something else to try. Before you know it, you will be bypassing many aisles at the grocery store. That is a GOOD thing!

I still have my days (sometimes weeks) of not doing a great job at keeping the pantry stocked. Right now I am out of bread and a wee bit lazy about making more but I will do it because I now cannot stand the taste of grocery store bread anymore. I have to make the commitment to my family to do my best at doing what it takes to keep us all as healthy as possible. I have embraced my calling as a mom and wife and God gives me such grace to hold my ground and push forward because I know my family is counting on me. I have come to the realization that minor discomfort for me is worth it if it is in the best interest of my family!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Healthy to Crappy in a Few Short Generations

Have you ever stopped to think what an amazing miracle our bodies are? Well, not our bodies now but our bodies back when Adam was first formed? The "first family" (and generations that followed) didn't have a doctor on every corner to get a fast fix from sickness. There was no CVS to pop into to pick up advil or tums. Early man had only God's great design and whatever he could grow to keep him healthy and vital.

Fast forward to the present day. More than half of the US population is overweight or obese. Disease strikes people younger and younger with each generation. Despite the medical advances, we are still a very sick people. We have yet to cure one thing without triggering something else.

What has happened? What changed?

The answer is easy yet complicated. Early man grew and/or raised everything that he consumed. He worked from sun up to sun down just to make sure the race survived. Everything that was eaten was done so in the manner that God gave it, meaning no additives, preservatives, etc. The air was clean. A deep breath back then filled your lungs with fresh, clean air. A deep breath in today's world fills your lungs with chemical residues, off gassing, carcinogens and pathogens.

In "the old days" man ate butter, salt and red meat. AND he had no heart disease. How did that happen??? It happened because God designed our bodies to thrive on those things and many others. Then along comes a doctor that says all that is bad and convinced us to trade in our good wholesome food for margarine, salt substitute and tofu. And heart disease skyrocketed. Say what???? We eat like the good doctor says and we get more unhealthy?
Did anyone ever stop to think that the "good doctor" was an idiot?

He wasn't the only problem. After WWII, the American people were looking for convenience. They had just come through a difficult time and they wanted "easy". Can't blame them though. Food shortages and rationing had taken their toll. Along comes the grocery store. Now, there have been general stores, country stores, what have you for many, many years but they carried staples; flour, sugar, coffee, fabric for clothes. No frozen pizza or ice cream. Mama was at home, making all the food for her family from scratch. When she ran out of bread, she didn't run to the store. She ran to her pantry and made some. She kept her family fed by gardening and farming animals.

Fast forward to today. The number one killer of our people isn't heart disease. Heart disease is a symptom of a bigger problem. Our number one killer today is processed and commercial food. And I use the term "food" very lightly. Kids today are raised on frozen chicken nuggets, nuclear orange macaroni and cheese and soda instead of eggs from the family chicken, meat from the family pig and milk from the family cow. There are children from families that are able to provide food that rarely eat fruits or vegetables. They drink soda and sports drinks instead of good old milk and water. They sit in the house and play video games instead of playing outside and doing chores. They are getting fatter and more unhealthy ALL THE TIME! Is it their fault. Nope.

The blame falls squarely on the parents. From their bad examples to their bad choices. Now, before anyone thinks that I am perfect and therefore I am speaking about everyone else, let me assure you that I am just as guilty as the next mama. I have taken my kids through a drive-thru more times than I can count. I have bought soda for my family and unfortunately still do at times. I have fed my family enough processed food to sustain a third world country  (as if processed food could sustain anything but you get what I am saying). I am guilty, my friends, of taking the easy way out way too many times. My family has paid the price for my laziness. I have set such a bad example for my kids by eating too much sugar and not being very active. I have sinned. But just as God forgives me, I have to forgive myself and learn from the really dumb things I do. Most importantly, I have to not repeat those really dumb things!

I have learned that my kids pay much more attention to what I do than to what I say. That is probably true of most children. I can say "eat your veggies" but if I am not doing it, how can I expect them to? I can tell them to drink water but if I do it with a soda in my hand, what does that tell them? If I tell them to go play outside but I am sitting in the living room glued to the tv, how can I expect them to make the right choice?

Parenting is hard work. Not only are you molding tiny humans into big humans but you are (hopefully)making yourself a better human in the process. I know that I have to take my health and that of my family very seriously. I have to make the right (and difficult) choices concerning the food I feed them and where it comes from. I cannot be lazy and feed them processed food because it is easier on me. They are too important to me and are way more important than my own ease and comfort.

Over the next few weeks or so, I will be sharing posts on what our family is doing to improve our health and decrease any residual laziness...yes that one is hard!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Disney...Without the Kids!

This week my precious babies have been on choir tour with the youth group from our church. They went to St. Louis, Mo. which is the farthest away from home they have ever been. It has been an adjustment for me. I can tell you right now, without a doubt, I am NOT ready for the empty nest!!!

The day after they left, my husband got a call from his home office in central Florida. They needed him to come down for an important meeting so he suggested I go with him and we stay at Disney. Girlfriend is NOT about to pass up a trip to Disney! Even if it is only for a couple of days. Since we are members of the Disney Vacation Club, we can pretty much stay when we want and not have to shell out any cash for our room. You can read more about this awesome deal here.

So here we are, kidless and on our way to Disney!!! When I told the kids we were going they were NOT very happy with me. However, their affections could be bought as long as I brought them back something! It also helps that we have a family trip to Disney already scheduled for September:) And the fact that they were several states away at the time!

We arrived very late on Tuesday, got checked in and made it to the room. The next morning, we had breakfast and hubby left to go to his meeting. My day was wide open because I knew I would be alone for most of it. So I decided to go to Downtown Disney and get my "forgive me" gifts purchased. For the past 13 years, I have never been to Downtown Disney by myself. I have always been accompanied by hubby, the kids, or my parents. Sometimes, I had ALL of them! So here I am, with the entire day to myself. I could walk past the candy shop that the kids always want to go into. I could pass right on by the toy shops. I actually walked into a clothing boutique that my husband and son would have rolled their eyes at if they had been there. Then I went in another. I was really getting the hang of it. I walked through Arribas Brothers which is a blown glass store. We NEVER take the kids through there because, well, lots of breakables! I smiled as I walked PAST the Lego store. I got to eat at a little stand that didn't have animatronic animals, a jungle or dinosaurs. Don't get me wrong, Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex are 2 of our favorites but they are no fun with just me. So I got a pretzel at Wetzel Pretzel and sat on a bench looking out at the water. Other than the wayward rain drops, it was perfect. I shopped a little more, bought a few things and then headed back to the room to wait for hubs.

Once he got back, we decided to eat at the resort. We could go a little "fancy" because it was just the 2 of us. We ate at the Turf Club and WOW!!! It was fantastic. We sat at a table for 2 next to a glass wall that looked out into the garden areas. If there is one thing Disney does exceptionally well is having beautiful landscapes. We got to eat "grown up" food. The lamb chops were insanely delicious! I even had a grown up drink. For those of you that know me, you know I very rarely drink. The main reason is that it only takes a very small amount of alcohol to make me stupid. Then sleepy. So drinking isn't something I do very often. However, I decided to have a Magical Cocktail. Boy, I don't know what was in it but is was sooooo tasty. And it came with a color changing glow cube in it so I was still able to "enhance" my goofy self.

Without kids there, hubby and I got to actually talk to each other about, you know, important stuff. Our future, our plans. Moms and dads need to get out once in awhile and be husband and wife, even if it is only for a few hours. It will make a world of difference in your relationship!

After that marvelous dinner, we went back to the room to just relax before we headed back home the next morning.

A short little trip that revived and refreshed us. There was no time and really no need to go to any of the parks. We'll save that for when the kids go but it was so nice to get away just the two of us, in a place we love that holds sooo many dear memories for our family.

We were on such a high that driving home through a tropical storm that dumped rain on us the ENTIRE way home couldn't ruin our mood.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Grocery Store is Making Me Unhealthy

One of the biggest discoveries I have made on this journey to good health is that the grocery store is NOT my friend! Sure, that's where all the food is. Or is it? Ever look at the ingredients list on some of the things you buy regularly? I must warn you; you will be shocked. Or maybe you won't. Maybe you already know that if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it. If you do, you rock!!!

One of the first "lessons" I learned is that healthy food does not come from a manufacturer. It usually doesn't come in a box and it CERTAINLY does NOT have a long ingredients list!

I love bread. All kinds of bread. It's good. It's mentioned a bunch in the Bible so that is proof positive that bread is good. Unless it comes from the store. Then, not so good. Come on Tracy, bread is necessary for sopping up egg yolks and making sandwiches! I hear ya! But look at the list of what is in the bread at the store the next time you throw a loaf in your buggy. This is what is in my bread that I make at home-flour, real salt, yeast, water, honey and an egg. No additives, no preservatives. I can pronounce AND SPELL everything in it. Sure, my bread cannot sit on my counter for weeks (or months)without getting a bit of mold on it or getting stale like store bread. And sure, it takes a bit more time to make bread rather than buy it. But the benefits are huge! First, I know exactly what is in my bread. I can alter the ingredients to suit my family's tastes. I get a work out when I make it by hand (instead of in the mixer) and I have learned how to do something for myself instead of needing a company to supply me.

Now I hear all the " I don't have time to do that. I work" So do I, but my work is from home so that is a benefit for me. However, bread making does NOT take a lot of hands on time. Pick a day where you will be home for around 3 hours. Make a few loaves of bread and stick them in the freezer until needed. While you are waiting for the bread to rise, clean or wash dishes or play with the kids. Walk the dog, take a power nap. Anything. Bread making involves about 15 minutes hands on time. The rising times are about 2 hours total and bake times anywhere from 20-40 minutes. That's it. A little bit of work and you will be rewarded with the best tasting, freshest, healthiest bread. Later I will be posting my favorite sandwich bread recipe but for now, enjoy this French Bread recipe. It makes a quick 2 loaves of very tasty bread that is perfect for toasting, making french toast or garlic bread.

Now that you know that grocery store food is no bueno, start learning how to make things yourself. You will never regret learning a new skill and your body will thank you.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Low Fat No Fat Made Me Fat!

As child of the 80's, there is no diet that I haven't tried. Okay, except for the Grapefruit Diet because I despise grapefruits! Low fat, no fat, only green foods, no meat, no sweets, diet pills (so not proud of that) and everything else under the sun. I was never really fat fat, but I was chubby.

A little background on how I got that way. First, let me just say that I adore my parents. They are the best and ALWAYS tried to do what was best for me. That being said, I learned a lot of bad habits from them. My mom has a serious sweet tooth and she could live off bread and butter for the rest of her life and be perfectly happy. This, she passed on to me. Thanks mom:(
My dad was gone a lot because of his business and, since it was just me and mom at home, we ate out. A lot. Like more often than not. There was a diner close to our house that we ate at a lot. Of course there were the usual fast food restaurants too.

My dad was, and still is, a very picky eater. He only likes a limited variety of foods so, when he was home, we would have hot dogs, mac and cheese and meatloaf on a regular basis. He only liked corn and peas so that was our only vegetable. So you can probably guess that for the longest time, I was also a very picky eater.

Both of my parents worked so I was home alone after school. It was nothing for me to go through a bag of doritoes in a day or two. Ice cream was always readily available so I ate a lot of that while I waited for someone to come home. My eating habits as a kid, teenager and young adult were awful! I wasn't terribly active but I ate like all my athlete friends did. Pizza joints and McDonalds were our favorite hangouts.

The point of telling you all this is just to show what an influence parents have on their children even when they don't think they are paying attention. My parents never made me eat veggies and fruit because they weren't eating a lot of them. I was never taught about whole foods or nutrition. Our family gatherings always centered around food. Large amounts of heavy or decadent foods. No one told me to stop. No one told me to exercise. No one taught me that what I put into my body matters.

It was last year when I really made the connection that food fuels my body and if I fill it up on cheap fuel, it is going to run bad. But just knowing that fact doesn't necessarily make it easy to change. Change is hard, no matter who you are. After a year of change, I still find myself going through a drive thru when I am pressed for time. Thankfully, those times are getting further apart.

I don't think good health is a destination. I think it is making better choices as much as possible and forgiving yourself when you choose unwisely. You will eat that 2nd piece of cake at times. You will polish off everything on your plate when you should have split it with someone else. You just have to be aware when those things are happening so you can take bigger steps to prevent them next time.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Health-One Family's Trip Down the Road to Health

My family has been on a journey for about the last year or so. After years of not taking very good care of ourselves, we decided to just stop. Stop poisoning ourselves, stop abusing our bodies and then expecting them to just recover, stop setting such a bad example for our kids.

The catalyst for this was actually our parents. They all have their health woes but instead of really trying to get at the core of their ills, they just kind of ignore it (my parents) or do whatever the doctors say even though it makes them worse (hubby's parents). Because we were on the outside looking in, we had a different perspective. We decided that we did NOT want to end up like our parents. We wanted something more. Something better.

So, a little over a year ago, I started really researching what we should be doing. Can I just say WOW!!! There are BILLIONS and BILLIONS of opinions out there from experts and non experts and pretty much anyone with with half a brain. It was overwhelming to say the least! As I read one thing and could see the logic in it, I would read something else that completely contradicts it. So what is the answer? Well, I didn't exactly find the answer. What I did find was that there are different things that work for different people so I needed to find what worked for us.

Really, it would have been a whole lot easier if there was just ONE right answer!

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to talk a little more in depth about those answers that worked for us. Please note that this is our journey and it isn't going to look like anyone else's. I just hope that it inspires you to start your own journey or at least intrigues you enough to do your own research and really think about the health of your family.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very happy, SAFE Memorial Day. Please remember while you are grilling out or swimming (both of which we will be doing today!)the reason behind this day off of work, the sacrifice of many, many men and women. The ultimate sacrifice. No matter what your thoughts are on wars, our military is very much needed in order for us to continue to live as free people. Without them, our lives would look so much different-and NOT in a good way!

I currently have a cousin in the Marines. As a matter of fact, she and her mom will be visiting us today. My prayer is that my family never has to "remember" her on this day. Sounds selfish, I know. I am so proud of her and what she is doing (as I am with all those serving and retired) but I want her to come home safe and sound when her military time is up. I want our family to be one of the "lucky" ones. There are so many families that never got that chance and today is a day for us to take a moment and really think about what their sacrifice means to us.

May God bless all of us with a time of peace.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Finally! A post!

Bet you thought I fell off the face of the earth, didn't you???

Sometimes, it feels like I did.

So much has gone on in the last few months, not sure where to start. I started 2 new jobs, we thought my mom had cancer...Ok, I'll start with that one.

My mom had a persistent cough for a looooong time. She always thought it was just allergies or a lingering cold but then she started to retain water. Lots of it. She went to the emergency room and long story short, they thought she may have lung cancer. She saw specialists. They all said the same thing. 99% sure it is cancer. The woman has never smoked a cigarette in her life but her parents smoked when she was growing up. (They both stopped later) We all had ourselves prepared for the worst. wasn't cancer. It was some kind of infection in her lung that they are still trying to narrow down. But it's NOT cancer! YAY!!

Now for those 2 jobs. I already told you about one of them. I am a jeweler for Premier Designs Jewelry. Let me tell you, I LOVE it. I have done about a dozen home jewelry shows and I have been having such a good time at them. They say that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. It's true. I look forward to the nights when I have a show because they are so much fun. And a bit profitable too:)

Job #2 isn't really a job. I became an Independent Product Consultant for doTerra Essential Oils. I have been loving the quality of the oils and I have been learning so much in the last few weeks about how to use them. I don't really do this job for money, it's strictly for the discounted price on the oils. I love to save me some money.

So I will be trying to get back on a more predictable posting schedule. I have had my fun with my little break but I miss this forum here. I miss talking with you and hearing what you think. Well, at least most of what you think. There have been a few stinkers that try to ruin it for everyone. I found a great way to deal with them, though. I press <delete>!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I just realized that the title makes it sound as though I am complaining about where I am. Oh my friends, far from it. I am utterly content with where I am physically. This morning I woke up in my favorite place (other than home)......Disney World!!!!!

This was not planned, just a happy problem fix. See, I had made plans to go to Florida to a) see my cousin's very sweet, very new baby. Ohhh, he is a keeper! Little Mark was born on February 8 and I have been DYING to get to Fort Myers to see him. And b) do a jewelry show at my aunt's house. She so graciously offered her home for a show...okay, I maybe sorta told her I was going to do one at her house anyway whether she said yes or no. Lucky for me, she loves me and agreed to host one.

So, originally my mom was supposed to go with me as this is her side of the family that we were visiting, but a few days before we left, she got a really bad cold. Seeing as how she didn't want to get the baby sick, she decided to stay home. Hubby didn't want me driving down by myself (twins were with me but can't drive if I get sick) because I was still trying to shake off the last little bit of my cold.
So he said he could take a few days off and go with me. YAY!!!!

I talked to my cousin, who is the assistant general manager of a resort, and asked her to get  me 2 rooms. The night before we leave, she tells me that the hotel is really full and could we get by with only room. Now, her resort is beautiful. Nice big suites with a bedroom and a pull out couch in the living room. Yes, we could squeeze into one room for 2 nights. I got off the phone and told hubby we would all be sharing a room. The twins were highly upset about this as that meant they would have to share a bed, which is the sibling equivalent to death. Then I made a little joking comment about how we should just stay at Disney and drive down to Fort Myers to do the show and see the baby from there. I was seriously kidding. Hubby looked at me and said "book it". WHAT???? I told him I was just joking. He said that we still have vacation points available (read about our Disney Vacation Club here.)so we might as well use them and then we don't have to pay for a hotel room. Yes, this is one of the many reasons I love this man of mine. He is pure genius! So we called DVC and, unfortunately, they didn't have any 2 bedroom villas for Friday night but Saturday night and Sunday night were available. We had planned to come home Sunday but hubby said he didn't want to spend just one night at Disney so we will go home Monday instead. If you knew hubby, you would realize how out of character this is for him. He is Mr. I have to Work and can't have any Fun.

After I loved the baby from afar (yeah not holding him was rough!) and did my show for my aunt (got her some free bling in the process) we headed here to our home away from home. I truly love this place. We aren't going to any parks or anything. Just going to chill at the resort and walk around Downtown Disney. We are proof that you can have just as much fun going to Disney and NOT going to the parks as you can going to them. Of course, going to the parks is lots of fun, too! We already have a week planned in September where we will "do everything" but for now, relaxing and just being here is more than enough.

Monday, February 11, 2013

My First Jewelry Show and Other Stuff

Last week was my very first solo Jewelry Home Show. It went well. Very well in fact! I made almost $450 for less than 3 hours worth of work! But that was just the icing on the cake. The part I really enjoyed was just sharing all the beautiful jewelry and entertaining the guests. I got quite a few laughs so that helped to boost my confidence. It also helped that when I looked out to the crowd, there were lots of familiar, friendly faces. That made all the difference in the world! So I am thinking that I am going to like this jewelry business. I had better because I have a bit invested in it! I have several more shows booked for the next month so I should be busy, which is good. I am much better when there is a lot for me to do. If I am caught up (doesn't happen often!) I kind of flounder and that is when the lazy starts to creep in!

Hopefully, this month we will complete the purchase of a house for my husband's business. Right now, there are 4 of them trying to work in the little outbuilding that houses my washer and dryer. It is small and there is no bathroom so guess where they all go??? I am a little funny about my bathrooms and don't like people traipsing in and out of them all day when they don't live here. Plus, the bathroom that gets used is right next to the kitchen. I spend all day in the kitchen (cooking, homeschooling)and there are few things worse than hearing what is going on in the bathroom. Okay, smelling is worse but they are both pretty bad! The new office will be right at the end of our road (about a mile from the house) and there will be 2 bathrooms for their potty-ing pleasure! It will be nice to have them all in a bigger space. They will have a full kitchen along with a dining/conference room. There is plenty of space for their desks and office paraphernalia. There will also be space for an office for me!!! At first, I really didn't want one. I am busy enough at the house and didn't think I would really spend that much time at the office but now that my business is in full swing, I am getting really excited about having my own space. I never realized how much STUFF I would need to keep on hand, paperwork-wise. Hubs wants to get everything business related out of the house and into the new office so that, when he comes home, he's home.

On the farm front, Babe the pig is growing everyday. So much so that we are trying to get her new, permanent pen ready while she is still small-ish enough to move without too much trouble. We had to get her a new water trough yesterday. She has this fascination with shaking and emptying her water pan as soon as we fill it up. It's annoying. Okay, it's a little cute when she grabs it and shakes it or when she crawls inside and rolls around until if flips over but she must learn NOT to do that! She has such a great personality! When she hears someone come outside, she starts to grunt and wag her tail until you come over and talk to her. Since we had a ton of rain the other day and her pen was so wet, I had the kids spread some fresh dry straw all around so she could have some dry areas to go to. Babe takes the piles of dry straw in her mouth and puts them in her "house". She has piled so much straw in her house that you can't see her when she goes in. There is a huge misconception about pigs. They are not dirty animals. They like to keep where they sleep clean and dry so they do not "mess" in their house. Babe likes to do all kinds of housekeeping in her pen. She trades out damp, muddy straw for clean straw in her house almost daily. She finds trash in her pen and piles it up. Well, she piles up what she can't eat and so far that has only been metal. My father in law brought her the old plants from his winter garden and, instead of eating the broccoli and cabbage, she found the 2 plastic plant markers he left in the bag and ate those. I can't believe how much I love this pig! I am so glad we are not eating her!

The chickens are all doing well and have gotten back up to a good production of eggs. I am back to being able to sell them again. Crazy how a little less sun light each day can totally throw off egg production for a LLLOOONNNNGGG time. But they are happily producing daily again. I have been looking through my chicken catalog and picking out what I am going to order. We will be getting meat chickens for the first time. I am a little freaked about butchering them but I will just have to get over it. I am thinking of getting some turkeys, too. That is, if hubby will build me a place to put them AFTER he builds me a pen for the meat chickens! Yes, hubs is very busy for me this time of year!

It is also time to get the raised beds ready for spring! I am ashamed to say I haven't touched them since the end of my summer garden. My work is cut out for me! I have been perusing the seed catalogs and have pretty much picked out what I want. I really want to grow much more than I did last year. Every year is a learning experience and I learned that I need to grow MUCH more to keep us in veggies/fruit for the year. One step at a time...

One great thing that is almost finished is the pool deck. All that is left is the small stairs on one side and painting/staining. The pool will be ready as soon as the water warms (or we get that pool heater we have been wanting!) Hubby and our son have worked so hard on the railing that goes all the way around. Our boy learned to use the chop saw and cut every single piece of wood for the railing BY HIMSELF! He only messed up 2 boards. I am so proud of him! He reads the tape measure like pro and doesn't call out stupid measures like his mama. I am famous for measuring something and telling hubby to cut it "2 ticky marks past the 7"! My boy just laughs at me and says " Mom, that's 7 and a quarter." Yep, 2 ticky marks past the 7.

Well, I just can't think of anything else to add. I know I haven't been posting very much. Been trying to balance the whole homeschool, taking care of the house/property and now jewelry business and some things have just had to go by the wayside a bit. That includes my cooking. We have been out of bread for 2 weeks now and I just haven't had time to make any. We have also eaten out more than I care to (My stomach is really rebelling). I will get back to being here more regularly once I get a little better at this juggling. Plus, I want to share this beautiful jewelry with you!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Clay Roads and Rain

Clay roads and rain do not mix. Not at all. Not even a little bit. We live on a clay road. It is about 2 1/2 miles long and we live smack dab in the middle. There really isn't an easy way to our house when we have had a lot of rain. Many have tried, most end up in the ditch. Haverty's refuses to deliver furniture here because, the 2 times they have been here, they got stuck. The last time was so bad that they had to call a wrecker to get the truck out. Thankfully, I don't need furniture right now :)

The other night, I went to choir as usual. It was 75 degrees outside so I was wearing some shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops. While I was at church, the Mother of All Storms hit. Okay, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but while we were rehearsing How Great Thou Art, you could hear the wind howling outside like we standing in the middle of it. The rain was beating so hard against the windows that it was drowning out the piano! Then, every one's cell phones started going off. We have something around here called Red Alert, where they will call you when there is a severe storm in the area. Apparently, every last one of us is subscribed to that service! So I sent a quick text to hubby asking how the weather was out there. (We live about 15 miles from church) He sent me back a text telling me that water was blowing in from around one of the large windows in the living room and they were trying to keep it from soaking the carpet. He also told me that I needed to take the road before ours (it loops around into ours but tends to not get as slick as ours does.) because they had received so much rain that he didn't know if I could make it down the road. Okay, no problem. I really didn't want to end up in the ditch anyway. So, I leave church and the weather has now dropped to 55 degrees. Remember, I am still in my shorts, t shirt and flip flops. No jacket in sight. I get to the road before ours and make the turn. By now the rain had slowed quite a bit but was still coming down. Just before that road connects with our road, it narrows so that there is no way to turn around if you have to and there is no "side of the road". It is just big enough for one vehicle with  tall embankments on either side. So, I am tooling along, listening to the radio, feeling very cozy in my heated seat. I make the final curve and what do I see ahead? A doggone tree has fallen across the road. There is no way to go around it because it goes from one side to the other. I can't back up because it is pitch black outside. So I figure the best thing I can do is just clear enough of the branches so I can drive through it. So, me in my WHITE shorts, flip flops and umbrella, head out into the rain. Oh my word was it COLD rain!  I am trying to make my way through the muck without losing my shoes or falling. I start flinging the branches out of my way. So far, so good.

Oops! A little sloppy clay spray on the legs. At least the shorts are still clean! Darn! My umbrella isn't covering my back completely and cold water just poured down my back. Brrrr! Okay all the little branches are moved and there is only one left. Hmmm, it's a little bigger than I thought. I try pulling it to the side. Nope. I try pushing it the other way. It just springs back and covers me in more clay spray. And that stupid umbrella is pouring more of that dang cold water down my back!

I finally come to the realization that the tree isn't moving. I still can't drive around it or it will scratch my truck. So what's a girl to do? I broke ALL the branches from the entire top of the tree and made a path for my truck. Time consumming? Yes. Freezing hands, feet and back? You bet! BUT I did it myself and didn't have to call any one to come rescue me!

Guess I will need to check the weather before I get dressed for the day ;-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Phone or What's Left of It

My husband has ALWAYS been the patient one whereas I tend to be a little teensy bit impatient and have been known to fly off the handle at a moments notice. It is something I am working on but there was a time in my life where I simply reacted to situations instead of thinking them through. Hubby was always laughing at my antics telling me how I needed to stop throwing my mini tantrums because the only one who suffered was me. I took his words to heart and, over the years, I believe that I have grown in the patience department.

Yesterday, the twins and I had some errands to run in town, so we were gone most of the afternoon. When I got home, hubby walked to the house from the office and told me I needed to order a new cell phone for our oldest son. Now, this kid (okay he's 25) and I have had some go arounds over his cell phones. He is so rough on them and is constantly having trouble with them because he doesn't take care of them. He has to have a cell phone for our business but it drives me nuts how reckless he is with them. Anyway, hubby let me carry on about how I was going to start deducting the cost from his paychecks and how he needed to have, yet another conversation with him about taking care of his phone. He listened to me very patiently and then told me the following story. Please keep in mind that my husband is patient to a fault and never over reacts to situations.

Our oldest son sometimes has a problem with not letting things go. He will talk about things we discuss in private concerning his finances with everyone in the office. Hubby has gotten on to him time and time again to keep those things to himself because, what we do for him, is no one else's business. Apparently, yesterday was one of those days. Son was talking about his cell phone and how it wouldn't keep a charge. Everytime he talked on it, it would die. Hubby told him that they would talk about it later because they were busy and needed to work. Son couldn't let it go so he started talking to the other 2 people in the office about his phone. This led to hubby being the only one working. He kept telling our son to knock it off and that they would talk about it later and for everyone to get back to work. Apparently, this went on for about an hour. Remember, I told you hubby is VERY patient. Finally, son was still bellyaching about his phone so hubby asked to see his phone. Son handed it to him and hubby proceeded to beat it to death with a stapler. He then handed it back to our son and said simply "Problem solved".

It pained him greatly to have to tell me this story because, like I said, he would tell me to not throw tantrums. I held back the laughing for as long as I could because the look on his face was so serious. Then I let loose. I thought I was going to vapor lock from laughing so hard. All the while, hubby just stared at me and patiently waited for me to stop. All those memories of me sweeping my arms across my desk and throwing everything on the floor because I couldn't find some little piece of paper that I desperately needed came flooding back. All those "honey, did that make you feel better?" comments that hubby would say to me afterwards came rushing back. I asked him if that "made him feel better" and he simply replied "Immensely. Now order him a phone." I was a bit worried that hubby was going to let our son use his phone which is an iPhone but he said that the other phone could still be used but the top had to be held together when you talk on it (it's a flip phone). Son had a smartphone once but after wracking up heavy duty data package overuse bills, he now sports a plain jane flip phone. Well, now it's a plain jane carefully-hold-it-together phone. He called us last night to let us know that the phone was now in 2 pieces and can't be used. Guess who has to talk to Verizon today?????

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My New (ad)Venture

I have been a stay at home mom for almost 5 years. I love it and never want to return to the "working world". So I am totally flumoxed at my latest decision. I have signed up to be a "jewelry lady" with Premier Designs. Okay, so it's not a full time job (unless I want it to be) but it will provide some extra income which is always nice. I got this idea in my head when I went to a jewelry show at a friends house a few months ago. At the show, she passes out a little questionaire that asks if you would be interested in hearing more about the opportunity that is available through Premier. I checked "yes". Why? No clue. I just did. I really had no interest in doing it. Hubby provides for us just fine and I like to be home. Actually, I love being at home and the thought of having to leave and go anywhere irks me.  Also, I am soooooo not a people person. I tend to be very shy and never feel very confident in front of people. Anyway, I got a phone call and email a few days later and something just started to push me in this direction. Hmmm, can any of you guess what (or who) that something is????

Over the last few months, I have been talking to the "jewelry lady" and researching this company and I finally decided to take the plunge. I attended the Regional Rally in Atlanta (Lord Bless those people who have to drive in Atlanta on a daily basis!) over the weekend. The more I hear about this company and the more I talk to people who have been dealing with them for several years, the more I like and admire them. The company was founded by a husband and wife back in 1985 and is based on biblical principals. They require all who are working with them to have good character, integrity, great work ethic and a servant's heart. In return we are provided the same treatment and help from the home office. The wife has since passed away and her son is now the President of the company. Her husband, who is 89 years old, is still involved with the company. A video was played showing Mr. Horner giving a wonderful speech to all Rally participants. What spirit that man still has at 89 years old! Needless to say, I am proud to be a part of the Premier family. They sell a beautiful line of fashion jewelry at very reasonable prices. But that is only half of the business. The other half is becoming a Jeweler and making an income from the sales. What could be more fun than spending an evening with your best girlfriends, playing in jewelry?

I have my training show in just a few weeks and then I will be holding home shows on my own and having a ball all while earning some extra cash. How cool is that? Now, about that whole not-a-people-person problem? Well, it's funny when you listen to what God is telling you to do, He "fixes" whatever has been holding you back. I probably will never be the life of the party and that's fine with me. However, I am no longer scared of being in front people selling this beautiful jewelry and telling about the wonderful opportunity that has been given to me. I can't wait for this all to begin!

Posts may be a little scattered for the next month or so but I will still be here. I mean, we gotta eat so that means I will still be cooking. The farm animals aren't going anywhere so they will still have to be taken care of and posted about. And garden season is just around the corner. What??? Geez, I better get to ordering some seeds!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Pastor's Tradition

My Pastor's wife has a blog and I, occasionally, pop over to it to check out the cute pictures she posts of their 2 kids, Hannah and Joseph. They are always up to something fun and the kids are absolutely adorable!
Yesterday, I read this post and thought what a wonderful little tradition for a (sometimes) forgotten about event. Epiphany. It kind of gets lost in all the Christmas hub bub but it should have importance in the lives of Christians, too.

I love their idea of putting out "hay" for the camels who are carrying the Wisemen to the baby Jesus.
I think this idea does a wonderful job of relating this event into something that a 3 and almost 2 year old can start comprehending.

I love these little traditions and wish that I had thought of this to do with my kids when they were younger. Unfortunately, my "walk" hadn't really started at that time and I was too caught up in the "societal idea of Christmas" to pay any attention to what came next. Another one of those live and learn moments!

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Duluth Trading Company-A Review

My husband is hard on clothes. Really hard. Not that he tries to be, he just is. Even though he has an office job during the day, nights and weekends are spent building stuff. His 2 current projects are putting a railing around our deck and remodeling the back of our house. He sticks nails, hammers, pliers, pencils and anything else he walks around with in his pants pockets. This is not so great on the pants (not to mention my washing machine!) Plus he has to do a lot of squatting and bending over and, for a guy, sometimes things get, well, pinched. Please don't make me go into more detail on the pinching!
We were watching tv a few months ago and a commercial came on for Duluth Trading Ballroom Jeans...They aren't talking about dressy jeans you wear dancing. Nope, they are referring to testicle room. Not being a guy, I didn't get why this subject is so important. Jeans are jeans, right? Well, hubby needed more jeans so I decided to buy him some Ballroom Jeans just because it makes me giggle every time I say it. Let me just tell you that they were his favorite present under the Christmas tree. He loves them. He says that he can squat down without having to "reposition" anything and there is no pain involved. They are also made in what seems to me to be a very sturdy way. The seams are nice and strong and the material is of a good strong weight. The sizing seems to be pretty true also. These jeans are highly recommended by me but, most importantly, by the hubby who now has...ballroom. Yep, I had to go there. Sorry...

Oh wait! My road to tacky isn't over yet. Nope. Hubby got Buck Naked Underwear from Duluth Trading too! If you haven't seen this commercial, you are truly missing out. I hate commercials and always fast forward through them but this caught my eye. It shows a man in "regular underwear" with his crotch in a vise (I really never thought I would ever use the word "crotch" on my blog!) The announcer tells us that this is how wearing regular underwear feels. The next scene shows the same man running wild and free (and by free, I mean naked but he has a little flag over the "parts") while the announcer tells us this is how it feels to wear Duluth Trading's Buck Naked Underwear. The tagline is "No Sweat, No Stink, No Pinch". Honestly, how can you NOT laugh at that??? Well, hubby got some for Christmas (yes, we are practical gift givers) and he adores them. He probably would not want me to express that here but we're all friends, right? Like his jeans, hubby is tough on underwear. I don't how he does it but he is always ripping the waist band off. Poor thing has no rear end to hold up his pants so he is constantly tugging them upward. Hence, the waist band gets a workout. This Buck Naked Underwear has a reinforced waistband to handle all that tugging and apparently the fit is really good. Hubby does not get excited about much but good fitting underwear makes him real happy. I will warn you, they are a bit pricey. But isn't anything of quality? I paid $22.50 for a pair before Christmas. He loved them so I bought more while they were on sale for $15 each if you bought 2 or more. I will wait for another sale and stock up.
The orders were sent out quickly and I received everything in good condition. The website is super easy to navigate and it's funny, too. I am a sucker for humor. I would highly recommend this company and the 2 products we have tried so far. Plus, some of the customer testimonials are hilarious! I actually went to different products just to read what other people wrote. I found one from a guy in the same city I do my grocery shopping. How's that for a small world?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pioneer Woman Fettuccine Alfredo

I love the Pioneer Woman....I told my husband that I would approve of him moving her into our house. I would share him as long as she would cook for me! (and she could bring Marlboro Man, too. I'm fine with that). Now, back to reality. If I can't have her cook for me, then I will have to be content with cooking her recipes myself.

Yesterday was monthly shopping. It is an all day event because the store I love is and hour away from my house. There is also lunch out at Pickle Barrel. My kids love that place and it is on the way to the store. Can't shop on an empty stomach! We didn't get home until after 5pm and, of course, I didn't premake anything for dinner because we had no food! So, Pioneer Woman's fettuccini alfredo to the rescue! This is, by far, the simplest, tastiest alfredo recipe I have ever made.


  • 1 lb. Fettuccini Noodles
  • 1 Stick Butter (this is Pioneer Woman after all!!)
  • 1 C. Heavy Cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 C. freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (Please don't use that Kraft stuff. It is NOT the same)
Cook pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, heat butter and cream in a saucepan over medium heat, until butter is melted. Salt and pepper to your liking.
When pasta is done, drain it and set aside for just a second. Take 1/2 the cheese and put it in the pot you cooked the pasta in. Pour the cream and butter mixture over it and stir it to combine. Dump the pasta on top of that and mix it up very well. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the pasta. Serve immediately.

Because I forgot to get any veggies prepped beforehand, I added a bag of frozen peas to the boiling pasta during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. We would have had homemade french bread but hubby ate every.single.piece! Anyway, it really hit the spot. If you really want to add a new dimension to it, add a few drops of hot sauce to it. I don't know why it works but it really makes it taste even better, and I don't even like hot sauce!

I did have a picture of the finished product but apparently Blogger knows how bad a photographer I am and they have caused my picture insert button to not work.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Spicy Chicken Pinwheels

Here is another one of those finger foods from Christmas Eve. You can make these as spicy (or not!) as you want.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Can Ro-tel, drained
  • 12 oz. Softened Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup. Shredded Cheese
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Tsp. Chili Powder (I used half this amount cuz I am a wuss)
  • 1 Tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Garlic Salt (I used Powdered Garlic instead)
  • 1/4 C. Cilantro, Chopped (optional)
  • 6 Scallions, White and Green Parts, Sliced
  • 6-8 Large Flour Tortillas, room temperature
Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, half the cumin and 1/3 the chili powder. Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. (You could also cook them in a skillet). Cool chicken slightly. Once cool enough to handle, shred with 2 forks.

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, drained tomatoes, shredded cheese, remaining spices, garlic, cilantro (if using) and scallions. Mix until it is very well combined. Add in shredded chicken and mix.

Lay out tortillas and spread some of the mixture all over the tortillas, up to 1 inch from the edges. You don't want to use too much mixture as your pinwheels will be to bulky. I think we used about an 1/8 to 1/4 C for each one. Make sure mixture is evenly distributed. Roll each tortilla tightly (it helps to press down as you roll so it sticks to itself), like a burrito, but don't fold in the sides like a burrito. Using a sharp knife, cut each tortilla roll into 1 inch slices and place on a serving tray. Keep these cold until you are ready to serve.
There are no pictures of these because I have a 13 year old boy who ate most of them BEFORE we went to church. It was too hard to hold the camera with one hand and fight him off with the other!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mini Taco Bites

For Christmas Eve, we usually just have a bunch of finger foods because we don't get home from church until 7:30-8 pm and cooking a full meal is just taking time away from...PRESENTS!!!!
No, really we just need something quick to throw together to get everyone fed and finger food fits the bill.

This little recipe comes from Pinterest. Yes, I am a Pinterest junkie. I will not even try to hide it anymore!

These little bites go together quickly and you can feed a crowd with them!


  • Wonton Wrappers
  • Taco meat (brown some ground meat and add your favorite taco seasoning)
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Taco toppers such as salsa, lettuce, sour cream, whatever you like.
Place wonton wrappers in a small muffin tin. You could use a big one if that's all you have but my mini one worked better for me. Put a small amount of (warmed) meat into the wrapper and cover with
a bit of shredded cheese.
Looks like someone forgot the cheese???

Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes until wrappers are browned and crispy and cheese is melted.
Remove from muffin pan and fill with your favorite toppings.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hot Dog Buns

I have been making all of our bread products for almost a year now. All, that is, except hot dog buns. For some reason, I just could never get them to turn out right so I continued to buy them. We don't eat hot dogs a whole lot but I still hated buying them. The last time we had them, hubby took one bite and said they were just too disgusting and could I please find a way to make them homemade. Well of course I can, dear. And I did!

The following recipe can be used for either hamburger or hot dog buns. They only change is in how you shape them.
Love these Applegate Farm Beef Hotdogs!


  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 4 1/2 Cups Flour (you can mix and match but I used all wheat)
  • 2 1/4 Tsp. Yeast (or one envelope)
  • 1 Tbsp. Raw Honey
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Egg, beaten well
Heat milk, water, honey and butter in a saucepan until butter is melted. Check temperature and let cool to 120F. If it is hotter than that, it will kill the yeast when you add it. Temper the beaten egg with a little of the heated mixture (so you don't get scrambled eggs. Yuck!) and then mix egg into the liquid. Mix 2 cups flour into the liquid. Keep adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough pulls together. I mixed this in my stand mixer and waited for the dough to clean the sides of the bowl. I also kneaded it in the mixer but if you are doing it by hand, dump out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Hamburger buns
Divide the dough evenly into 12-16 pieces, depending on how big or small you want your buns.
Shape into smooth balls and place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Flatten the balls a bit.
Hot dog buns
Roll dough into a long, narrow rectangle. Divide dough into bun sections and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Leave sides touching.

Cover and let dough rise for about 30-35 minutes until they are about doubled in size.
Bake at 400F for 10 to 12 minutes.
If you would like "stuff" on your buns to flavor them, brush beaten egg on the top and sprinkle with minced onion, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, whatever you like, just before you put them into the oven.
These are very tasty buns and infinitely better than store bought!
I found that the hot dog buns are easier to stuff if you split them on the top instead of down the side.
Just one more thing I can cross off my "buy at the store" list!